The study's assumptions have attracted some criticism, but complex systems analysts contacted by New Scientist say it is a unique effort to untangle control in the global economy. Pushing the analysis further, they say, could help to identify ways of making global capitalism more stable.
The idea that a few bankers control a large chunk of the global economy might not seem like news to New York's Occupy Wall Street movement, ...but the study, by a trio of complex systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, is the first to go beyond ideology to empirically identify such a network of power. It combines the mathematics long used to model natural systems with comprehensive corporate data to map ownership among the world's transnational corporations (TNCs).
"If connectedness clusters, so does wealth, ...money flows towards the most highly connected members." ~ Dan Braha of NECSI
"Reality is so complex, we must move away from dogma, whether it's conspiracy theories or free-market," says James Glattfelder. "Our analysis is reality-based."
From the Forbes summary version of this post:
... the data set...excludes GSEs and privately-held companies and is dominated by banks, institutional investors and mutual funds that don’t always have much in the way of control over assets.
Forbes reader danogden ...commented: “…pension plans, corporate 401(k) plans and individual funds..manage trillions in assets ultimately belonging to individuals who are predominantly not in the “1%”. …
...“custodian banks” in the list — companies who hold the assets of asset managers to ensure timely processing of things ...do not own the assets, or even really control [them.] A better list would be the actual asset OWNERS, rather than the vendors who manage, house and clear said assets.”
If connectedness clusters, so does wealth, says Dan Braha of NECSI: in similar models, money flows towards the most highly connected members.
...The real question, says the Zurich team, is whether it can exert concerted political power. Driffill feels 147 is too many to sustain collusion. Braha suspects they will compete in the market but act together on common interests. Resisting changes to the network structure may be one such common interest.